COVID-19 symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms come in many forms and can range from mild to severe, so it is important to understand the symptoms that could indicate you may have contracted the virus. University community members should continue to check their symptoms daily and stay home when they are sick.

If you think you may have been infected with COVID-19, the main symptoms to look for include:

  • Fever of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher or chills
  • Unexplained cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of smell or taste
  • Headache
  • Unexplained fatigue, muscle or body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Congestion or runny nose (excludes seasonal allergies)

This list does not include all possible symptoms. We will continue to update this list as the CDC shares more guidance.

Note: Before you take you temperature, wait 30 minutes after eating, drinking or exercising. Wait at least 6 hours after taking medicines that lower your temperature, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin.

If you have severe symptoms, including any of the following, seek emergency medical attention or call 911 immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing,
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds, depending on skin tone

When contacting emergency care, notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

A downloadable and printable copy of the COVID-19 symptoms checklist can be found here:

COVID-19 symptom checklist


What to do if you are experiencing symptoms or believe you may have been exposed

Stay home except to get medical care.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or believe that you have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, stay home, continue to monitor your symptoms and self-quarantine immediately. DO NOT come to campus if you believe that you may have contracted the virus.

Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Learn more:

Quarantine and isolation guidance

Separate yourself from other people.

Try to stay in a specific room of your residence and limit contact with others. Tell your roommate or any other potential close contact that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. It is important to note that symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. By letting others know they may have been exposed, you are supporting everyone.

Contact and exposure

Continue to monitor your symptoms and contact your health care provider.

MU students should contact the Student Health Center for a free phone assessment and a referral for a COVID-19 test by calling MU’s Student Heath Center at 573-882-7481.

Employees and other MU community members should contact their health care provider. Remember to call ahead before visiting your doctor.

Get tested.

Who should get tested?

The following people should get tested for COVID-19:

  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • People who have had a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
    • People who are fully vaccinated should get tested 5-7 days after exposure, and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
    • People who are not fully vaccinated should quarantine and be tested immediately after being identified, and, if negative, tested again in 5–7 days after last exposure or immediately if symptoms develop during quarantine.
  • People not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine who are prioritized for expanded community screening for COVID-19.
  • People not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine who have been asked or referred to get testing by their school, workplace, healthcare provider, statetriballocal or territorial health department.

Follow the directions of your health care provider who will provide continuing quarantine, treatment and testing guidance. For more information on testing, visit the Show Me Renewal testing page.

Testing information


Contact tracing

Any individual who has possibly been exposed will receive a call from a contact tracer with the date of possible exposure. If you are contacted by a contact tracer follow their instructions, even if you aren’t currently experiencing symptoms. Individuals who may have been exposed should expect to quarantine for 14 days.

Contact tracing information


When is it safe to be around others after being sick with COVID-19?

If you likely had or were confirmed to have COVID-19, it’s important that you return to your normal activities only when it’s safe for you and for others. In most cases, isolation ends 10 days after your symptoms first appeared, but your isolation requirements also depend on whether you had symptoms, if symptoms are improving, whether you have a weakened immune system and more. In general, we recommend you follow your health care provider’s recommendations and the guidance outlined on the CDC’s Isolate if You Are Sick webpage to understand when you can be around others after being sick.